Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cuyahoga Valley NP Week 3

    This week started off rainy, so it was a perfect day to learn about dispatch! Cuyahoga Valley has the communication center inside one of the ranger stations, the one I am stationed at, in fact I can see and hear them right now. This communication center is for Cuyahoga Valley, as well as many other parks. I was surprised to learn how many other National Parks and sites actually do use Cuyahoga. Cuyahoga does dispatch for Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, Isle Royale National Park,  Voyageurs National Park, and James A Garfield National Historic Site. This sure is a lot to do, also considering Voyageurs NP is in a different time zone so one must remember that when dispatching for them! I learned about Incident Management Analysis and Reporting System (IMARS), Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS), National Criminal Information Center (NCIC), Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), and a whole bunch of other acronyms. These are all dealing with how reports and records and other important information is shared within the park, within the region, and within the country so that information is able to be viewed from all ends so nothing goes missed. When I was with Cindy in dispatch she went over all this stuff, as well as her other job which is the budget for Visitor Resource and Protection. We went over personal services vs. non-personal services and how the money is appropriated into all the different areas, everything must be accounted for and estimated, making a proposal for the next fiscal year, and so many other parts to it that I did not ever realize how complicated it could be!
Dave working dispatch

    On June 8th the rangers on duty and I went to the Valley Fire Department for litter practice with the wheel. The Valley Fire Department often helps us out and other jurisdictions with rescues. They wanted to practice using their litters on a wheel that we have. We came out so we could also get some practice with it. Although we already used it in the field for a real life situation, it was good to do it slower under less pressure to really figure out the best way to strap someone in, and carry the litter with a team of people as we went through obstacles. After practicing with the litter and wheel, we watched them do some Search And Rescue training with the ropes. They were rigging up the ropes attached to a dummy to simulate if someone was stuck on an edge or someplace where they could not reach and had to bring them out. It was interesting to see the way the ropes were set up with the pulleys and knots, and safety knots, and attaching it to a heavy object which could be a large tree or as they were practicing, the back tire to one of their emergency vehicles. Thank you to the Valley Fire Department for all the help they do and for letting us train with them!
SAR ropes training
Valley Fire Department

Can you spot the turtle?
Orange salamander warning us
about illegal mountain biking!
   On Sunday, June 9th I was patrolling with Kelly Kiel. We went on a hike on some illegal mountain bike trails hoping to catch bikers because this is an ongoing problem. Although we did not see anyone that day, it was very eye opening to see why mountain biking off of designated biking areas really is a problem. These bikers are creating paths in what is supposed to be natural forest. These aren't small animal trails but obvious human made trails with spray paint on the trees marking the way. Litter is found all over it, and they are biking through designated wetlands destroying it. These bikers do not realize it but they really are making a negative impact on the environment in an area that has been set aside for just the opposite. Hopefully with catching some culprits and a little education we could lessen the severity of the problem.
   Later we went on a bike patrol on the Towpath, (where bikes are allowed!) and made sure everyone was doing alright. It was a very busy day on the Towpath because of the nice weather. We stopped at the Beaver Marsh to look at the wildlife and talk to the visitors.
Stopping at Beaver Marsh on bike patrol to talk to visitors

Blue Heron tending to nest

   I also patrolled with Mary Dyer that day and we went on a hike patrol around Oak Hill. We checked fishing licenses at the lake, and just as we were leaving we caught a dog off leash. I have been warned by many rangers from many parks about dogs off leashes causing the biggest problems. Although the owner was very mad and ended up leaving, the situation was handled very well. It was also very easy to see the importance of leashing your dog because moments before coming across this off lead dog we had passed small children, and when we came to the dog it growled.
It is great to be getting out there with other rangers patrolling and learning and getting to see a lot of wildlife! Thank you for reading!
Lilly pads at Beaver Marsh

-Jackie Innella


  1. Jackie, great post! I actually got to meet some Rangers from Isle Royale and Voyagers during our LE Refresher a few weeks ago. They were great people and I've heard awesome things about those two parks. If they are in the close area, I suggest a trip! We do similar work with illegal biking and checking fishing licenses here at SLBE. Hope you're well!

    1. Thanks Jordan! A trip would be great! It is actually pretty far though, I just looked at the parks on a map. But we can try to figure something out, that would be so cool!